Have any of you guys read or heard of the parable of the sower? Well, get ready because I'm about to quote it just for you!
After reading that parable, you probably said to yourself, "I want to be the seed that falls on the good soil." As followers of Christ, we want to read the living word and be able to apply it to our lives - which bears spiritual fruit & helps our faith grow. So here are a couple of ways on how you can study God's word. Now keep in mind that everybody has a different approach when studying the bible - find what works best for you!
Get a study bible. I cannot stress how much a study bible has helped understand the difficult and confusing parts in the bible. I have an "Apologetics Study Bible For Students" which I personally find really interesting and engaging. And that helps especially when I read the old testament. I really recommend for you to get a study bible - but you don't need a study bible to be able to study the bible.
Have a journal or some sort of notebook to take notes. You can take notes over the things you are learning, the lesson in the passage you read, and write the things you are grateful for. You can even write down a bible verse that stuck out. Having a journal is an awesome way to untangle the swirls of thoughts in your mind = it's super therapeutic.
Lastly, any other instruments needed: pens, highlighters, bible dictionary, concordances, devotionals, sticky notes, and yes, even your cup of coffee if you want.
Studying the Bible
Find a quiet place where you can study the word without interruptions. Put your phone away if you have to. You want to give your full attention to God and the word you will be diving into.
Pray before getting into God's word - ask God to show the iniquity in your heart and/or what may be hindering your relationship with God. Ask Him for wisdom and to help you understand the scripture that you are about to read. Ask for spiritually discernment so that you will be able to know when something is not biblically supported when you reach out to outside sources. I believe prayer before studying the bible is important because you are relying on God to guide you while reading his word.
Begin by intentionally choosing a book in the bible to study - I heard that the gospels are a great place to start (Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John - even more so if you never read the bible). Make it a thing to read your bible daily, prioritize it, and do whatever you can to set aside time each day to spend it with God. Reading your bible everyday does not make you legalistic, because effort is not legalism. You can click on this article to read why effort is not legalism. As for me, I like to follow by a reading plan so that I can at least read the entire bible every year. Why do I do this? Because by habitually reading God's words daily, I am storing God's truth in my heart so I will always have His truths to guide me on my walk with God.
Tips as you study the bible
- Interpretation is key - this is where a lot of arguments between believers can occur- This is also another reason I begin reading the bible with a prayer - so I will not rely on my own understanding. To avoid misinterpretation, carefully study God's words and be humbled enough to seek out for help when something confusing pops out in the bible - if you choose to go online for help, be careful in what sources you reach out to.
- Some questions you can ask yourself as you read:
- Who is the author addressing in the book?
- Who are they speaking of?
- What is the context of this particular verse?
Always pay attention to the context of the passage you are reading, whether it is the historical context, cultural context, and even literary context or just don't pull out a verse without considering the surrounding texts.
- Keep in mind as you read the bible, that it is not written with you as the main character. When we remember that we are the vessels used for God's glory, we will understand that all the events that happened in the bible were according to what God willed - for His greater plan. I think this will be beneficial to remember as you dive into the good ole' old testament.
- Always give into consideration that there may be something you will not understand right away. This was especially difficult for me, because when I first read the bible I wanted to know everything about the bible and even the depths of biblical theology - but this was often a stumbling block for me. It led me astray from what Christianity was all about, and instead took me into heated theological arguments that led me nowhere. My advice to you is to just keep on reading, even if you do not understand everything, but also remember you are able to seek out for more understanding - again, just be wise in who you seek out to. You just want to keep on feeding your heart God's truths, even if it may take a years later for you to understand what a particular passage/verse really means.
I will be adding to this post throughout the year.. as I find more tips that I think will be of some value to my readers.. I hope this was some sort of to you! Have a blessed day~